Tony broke into a sprint immediately after the starter’s gun sounded, sand from the beach filtered through his toes before he dove into the lake to start the race. The swim was the first event. It was a mile long and grueling. The cold, dark water was uninviting, very intimidating. As he splashed forward, his eyes caught the glimmer of several small perch. To motivate himself, he tried to catch them, pushing forward hard in the pursuit of the gills. When he emerged at the end, walking on the beach, exhausted, he was glad that was behind him. Sand filtered over his feet as he ran on the beach, approaching the next event.
He moved onto the run, which was a 10-K. It was up and down small hills, through the woods and along a river. He had to be careful not to trip on tree roots along the path. He took off in a sprint, and finished the running leg in record-time. Hooray!
He felt like he had enough in the tank to finish strong. Thus, he mounted his bike -- a “Specialized” -- red, white and blue racing cycle, with a gearbox that had 18 speeds, most of which he would use. His confidence soared, as well as the excitement about crossing the finish line and being surrounded by adoring family and friends.
He sped over the start-line and onto the track, which was a highway closed for this event. The bike-portion of the race was 15-miles, and it covered up-and-down hills, curves and around a crystal blue lagoon. As he picked up speed on the bike, he could feel the breeze in his face and the adrenalin pumping in his veins. The yellow line on the middle of the pavement flew by him and he picked up speed. He had to be careful on the turns not to spins out because the road had gravel and potholes. He was vigilant. His eagle-eyes focused on the pavement and he avoided the ruts in the pavement.
He came around the last turn and saw the finish-line. His bike was cruising, and he pressed forward. He crossed the finish-line and was relieved the race was over. He walked over to the refreshments table and jugged a blue Gatorade. After catching his breath, he strolled over to a bar and ordered a Special Export, nice and cold and very refreshing. That hit the spot!
Congratulations to Liam Fasick for achieving the Eagle Court of Honor! The Eagle is the highest recognition that Scouting offers to Scouts. It is earned through the advancement program, and only a small percentage of boys who begin in Scouting receive this honor.
Way to go Liam!
Liam collected over 600 items for his Eagle Scout Project to benefit Synapse House.
As we enter a new year at the Clubhouse, we are enjoying a little growth. We are seeing new members joining our community. The new members are showing us, that the need for us is a growing concern in the everyday world.
Every day we set up a different set of jobs for the members to do. It may be a typing job, which will do the job of having the client use their thinking skills as well as their manual dexterity skills. This makes the client take an active part in the running of the Clubhouse. They are part of everything that we do, including the making of our daily lunches. They are made aware of all the things that they must use to work in a kitchen and be sanitary and safe when preparing food. It is important that the client knows not only how to prepare, but be safe. A TBI survivor does not always think of what various actions they take when working in a kitchen. We want to make sure they are safe when working in kitchen, and practice makes perfect.
We also put out a monthly newsletter. The clients take pride in doing this. They construct the whole paper.They write stories, print recipes for many meals that they have tried and wish to pass them on, The members get a chance to play board games, where the members learn to work as a unit and have a fun time playing together and not cause trouble. It allows them to see that they might be brain injured but they are far from being useless. The members try as much as they can to carry on and try to move forward.
It is very obvious that the Clubhouse is trying to be a helpful and wanted place for TBI survivors to have a place where they can go and not be judged unfairly. I, myself, enjoy coming to the Clubhouse, where I can be myself and be part of something positive. The newspaper that they put out not only informs the general public about brain injury, it also shows that the members can express themselves.
It is hard to state what the Clubhouse helps its members, believe me it is a way that I can go and be assured that my being there gives my life a chance to be useful and once again enjoyable.
The SH Business Unit is a small group of SH “members” who focus their time and attention, weekly, on organizing tasks that drive the enterprise’s business. Tasks include: planning weekly events, organizing family get-togethers and setting the organization’s priorities. Joanne, Business Unit Coordinator (a.k.a. “the chief”), oversees the tasks of the Business Unit and gives counsel and advice. She gives input on how to improve productivity and outcomes. Generally, the advice is meaningful and thoughtful. But occasionally, her ideas fall flat, and members are quick to point-out the shortcomings, with sarcasm and ridicule. Joanne is good spirited and accepts the abuse patiently and often responds with a crisp, clear jovial retort. The group enjoys one another’s company, and the antics displayed by members and Joanne create an interesting and engaging clubhouse, an admirable result that members thoroughly enjoy and look forward to.
By Synapse House Member, Chris Z.
Creative writing is the process of composing prose that is unique and engaging. It captures the readers’ imagination from the get-go, and thrills to the very end. A reader of creative writing is caught-up in the storyline, thrilled by the plot and intrigued by the prolog. They don’t want to put the prose down, knowing the loss would be gut-wrenching.
Good creative writing is hard to find. One must search for excellent authors and remember them so as to be able to access their works with frequency going forward.
Storylines may include murder mysteries, ghost-sightings or adventures, such as the exploration of the polar icecaps. Creative writing can be enjoyed in various venues, like when a person is on vacation or relaxing in a saloon with a cold beer and pretzels at his fingertips.
The author and reader let themselves go, meaning their imagination runs wild, and they don’t let the day-to-day ordinary stuff interfere.
Where is great creative writing found? If one looks for the work in quality bookstores, at the library or on-line venues, they will find good choices.
By Synapse House Member, Chris Z.
The Annual (2016) Synapse House Gala was staged at an old farm house in Barrington, Illinois. It was an yearly event that gathered people invested in the organization’s mission to raise funds, and heighten its profile in the local community.
Guests would enjoy cocktails, beer or wine and a delicious dinner, either steak or salmon. The choice was theirs. And, dessert was delightful -- a moist, chocolate cake with soft, German chocolate frosting. Yummy! The event lasted six hours.
The featured speaker talked up the mission of the organization and made a respectful request for donations. The organization needed a financial shot in the arm, and hopefully the gathered mass would write some large checks.
The Gala had a long, topsy-turvey history. Like the Synapse House members, the gala was a little “off” balance. That is, it started on time and the band played some nice tunes, but two hours into the production, the lead singer passed out, crashing into the drumset nearby. Apparently, he had diabetes and forgot to take his insulin. Some guests thought he had indulged in too much liquor but the master of ceremonies assured guests that his trauma was medically induced and explainable. This was something that happened to him every two years or so. Crashing to the floor created sores and bruises. But, the vocalists stood up, recovered and carried on with the production. Bravo!
By Synapse House Member, Chris Z.
I went on a Cruise ship to Cozumel, Mexico. Independence of the Seas. I went with my daughter Kate, my son Kenny III, Jenny and I. Joe and Chris, my mother-in-law and father-in-law. where there. Joe, my brother-in-law, Stacey, my sister-in-law, Joey Jr., my nephew, Brandon, my nephew, Johnny, my nephew, and Jimmy, my nephew. We ate a lot. Had fun.
It was a blast.
Synapse House Member, Ken W.
I had a great Easter time because I had my family here with me. We had a fabulous time, because I have some fun memories I had forgotten about. We prepared an awesome meal which is Nigerian atypical. Cooking was a lot of fun as it brought back some forgotten memories. It was a very awesome time because my sister and I talked about our future plans and what we hoped to change.
Eating was a whole lot of fun because we made dishes I have not eaten for a while. I had Jollof Rice. After eating, we had a very awesome discussion about things we were going to do in order to improve my lifestyle. It was nice because I got to think of what I could do to improve myself.
By Synapse House Member, Stephany E.
Beginning this past January, Synapse House began a monthly Support Group for those who are in the position of Caregiver. My purpose in the role of facilitator to this group has many objectives, beginning with sending an invitation for you to join us.
Certainly, we are open to members of Synapse House’s family and friends but are also open for all to attend. We meet every 2nd Saturday of the month here at Synapse House beginning at 10:30am. Our goal is to offer resources, support, and the ability to share conversations with those in similar life situations. You may be surprised to learn how a conversation with others can help.
We are all Caregivers in some fashion whether we realize it or not, it’s a crucial position and we do it without hesitation, however being a caregiver can come with challenges. Whether it’s the care of someone with special needs due to a brain injury or stroke, caregiving and Caregivers have a common connection. As a Caregiver myself for many, many years, I know firsthand the “toll” caregiving can take. We sometimes overlook discussion on how to care for ourselves while caring for others but that is equally important. We love those who we are helping but we still have to love ourselves as well and don’t always remember how to do that. People need support and it’s ok to seek backing from others, especially those in similar situations. You are not in this alone is real and applies to all who may feel they have been “abandoned” in their roles. Please consider giving the Synapse Support Group a try, you have a story to tell and we want to listen.
It’s the story that people WANT to talk about but don’t always know how to begin the conversation.
Looking forward to meeting you,
Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States. He was a member of the Democratic-Republican party. And, he was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. He also was responsible for the Louisiana purchase.
Jefferson lived 83 years, having been born in 1743 and dying in 1826. This was a long life in that time.
He was an American Founding Father, and made huge contributions to the liberty and freedom of the American lifestyle.
Jefferson was married to Martha and, together, they gave birth to six children, although only 2 survived.
Jefferson was the nation’s first Secretary of State.
He was the principal author of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
He attended college at William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia..
As a child, Thomas enjoyed playing in the woods, practicing violin and reading. At the age of 9, Jefferson began his formal education studying Latin (Ugh!) and Greek at a local private school.
In 1760, Jefferson began his studies at William & Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia. He studies hard and became part of a group of older scholars, and it was from them that he received his true education. After three years at William & Mary College, Jefferson decided to read law under Wythe, one of the prominent lawyers in the American colonies.
From 1767-1774, Jefferson practiced law in Virginia with terrific success, trying many cases as a litigator and winning most of them. During this period of time, he met and married Martha Wayles Skelton (the sister of “Red”), one of the wealthiest ladies in Virginia and a recent widow.
Jefferson studied law under Wythe, a prominent lawyer in the colonies. He was admitted to the bar in 1767, and he was one of the most learned lawyers in America.
There were no law schools at this time, so aspiring lawyers “read” the law under the supervision of an established lawyer before being examined by the Bar.
Wythe guided Jefferson through a rigorous five-year course of study (which was more than double the typical duration), and by the time Jefferson won admission to the Virginia bar, he was already one of the most learned lawyers in America.
From 1767-74, Jefferson practiced law in Virginia with great success, trying many cases and winning most of them. He was a litigation dynamo! During this period of time, he met and fell in love with Martha Wayles Skelton (who was the great aunt of “Red”), a recent widow and one of the wealthiest women in Virginia.
They married on January 1, 1772. And, they had six children, but only two survived into adulthood -- Martha their first-born and Mary their fourth child. Only Martha survived her father.
Jefferson’s professional life coincided with huge changes in the American colonies. The conclusion of the French-Indian War in 1763 left Great Britain in dire financial straits; to raise revenue, the Crown levied a host of the taxes on the colonies. In particular, the Stamp Act of 1765 imposed a tax on printed paper goods, and it outraged the colonists, giving rises to the American revolutionary slogan: “No taxation without representation.”
By Chris Z., a Synapse House member
Today in honor of Thomas Jefferson's birthday, some club house members read aloud about him.